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This poem is taken from PN Review 159, Volume 31 Number 1, September - October 2004.

The Cherry Tree's Journey (translated by Marilyn Hacker) Vénus Khoury-Ghata

The cherry tree said his farewells to us this morning
He's leaving for America
where can we tie up the donkey now, asked the mother
to the shadow of his trunk, the father answered
Nina, who was stirring up snow for supper
added three grains of cumin
stinginess be damned

*

The shadow is wasting away with love for the absent tree
noon shrinks it to a dark stain underfoot
the earth is opaque with untold sorrows
from what source do tears spring?

*

The rain isn't the same since little brother died
says the mother
it used to come up from the earth
leaving the sky to the snow which melted in astonishment

*

What use is the snow? asks Nina, diapering the pumpkin like a baby
...


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